Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Future of the Automotive Industry is Upon Us!

Cars and trucks are easily one of the biggest investments that we, citizens of the world, put our money into, but unlike other places we put our money, like bank accounts, stocks, or even Mason jars in the back yard, we are 100% guaranteed to lose money when we buy a car. Whether its new or used, luxury or SUV or economy car, we put tens of thousands of dollars into them and get little or nothing out of them except utility. They take us where we want to go. Interestingly, that doesn’t mean that the status quo is the way it’s always going to be. Like cell phones twenty years ago, or the internet, or computers, cars and vehicle ownership are evolving, and its interesting to see where things are going from here.

In the last few months, there have been some stunning advances in automotive technology as well as interesting news from car companies. Perhaps one of the most significant is Tesla owner Elon Musk’s decision to allow other automakers, inventors, and dreamers to freely use, adapt, and further develop Tesla’s electric car patents. This is particularly significant in that right now, Tesla is producing vehicles with style and substance that not only reduce carbon emissions in the environment, but which are, on the whole, pretty affordable, too! That might be a shocking claim, but consider that the purchase of the new Tesla model x, which is supposed to carry an MSRP of around $70,000, is comparable to a BMW X5, which has a 5-year cost of ownership of about $72,000. Think that’s silly talk, because what about the electric usage? How about the installation of a solar charging station on your roof that will store energy through the day to dump into your car batteries when you get home? Pretty cool now, huh? Now, factor in all the federal tax incentives of EV ownership, and you’ve got totally comparable purchases!

Let’s not forget what Google is doing with autonomous vehicles, either! Did you think that those Google cars with the cameras on top were just for letting you play with Street View on Google Maps? Nope! You can bet that no small part of that worldwide mapping work will go into autonomous driving technology that will blend with existing traffic. The goal stands at having autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles on the roads and working perfectly within the next twenty years. Imagine getting into your car in the morning and taking a nap on your way to work, or playing checkers with your kids in the back seat on the way to Grandma’s house. That technology is just over the horizon, and it has repercussions in hundreds of different industries. Imagine a world free of car accidents or injuries, where insurance is unnecessary and the elderly don’t need to live in assisted living, since they can just climb into their autonomous car to head to the grocery store or the hospital. Imagine not having to worry about going through security at the airport or listening to your child fuss when you’re 30,000 feet in the air! That day is on its way, when you can get in your car and sleep through the drive to just about anywhere.

There are sure to be naysayers out there, but the same thing was said of rail travel when trains were brand-new, and cars themselves fell under attack by proponents of the horse as well. Regardless of what these special interests wanted to do, technology advanced, and the old was put aside. Automobiles will be the same. Once the infrastructure is in place, we as a society will put aside the old and take up the new. Take note of the date of this article- this future will be here within twenty years, and will be widely accepted as the way of life within your lifetime.


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